The mid-major betting report returns for another season here at Doc's Sports. The goal of this weekly article is to attempt to show that specialization is a profitable betting strategy. For the mid-major betting report, we follow one team all year long and make selections on that particular team's games on a weekly basis. For this season, the Temple Owls have been selected as the team to follow.
Through the first three years of the mid-major betting report, we had some tremendous results. In those three years combined, the selections went 18-12 and the profit for $100-per-game bettors was $1,590. Last year's report was a whole different story. We followed the Akron Zips last season, and I simply couldn't get a good read on that team. The result was a 3-8 season with a loss of $1,180. We look to get things back on track this year.
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The American Athletic Conference should be a really exciting conference to follow this year with several new high-profile head coaches. There will be some teams looking to win high-scoring shootouts and other teams looking to win with a staunch defense. The intrigue of the conference as a whole was one of the reasons for the Temple Owls selection for this season's report.
I'll follow Temple Owls beat writers, listen to team press conferences, and I'll follow the team and players on Twitter as we look to find interesting bits of information. Beginning next week, there will be a selection at the end of each article on the game. We'll be using the Doc's Sports Unit Betting System for every pick, which will allow readers to follow along and track the results.
Let's take a look at an overview of this Temple Owls team. Where are their strengths and weakness? What does the schedule look like? There's a lot of optimism around the team as they have a league-high 19 returning starters.
Temple slipped quite a bit offensively last year. In 2013, the Owls averaged 399 yards per game. Last year, they averaged only 308 yards. Temple ran for only 3.5 yards per carry last season. P.J. Walker is the main man under center for Temple. In 2013, Walker was terrific. In 2014, he wasn't good at all. If Temple is going to contend for the title in the AAC, Walker has to return to his 2013 form. He had only 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. To be fair to Walker, there were a couple key things keeping him from succeeding last season. He had a sprained ankle for much of the year, and he also had a young group of receivers.
T.J. Simmons originally committed to UCLA, but he switched and ended up with the Temple Owls. He's so talented that it is likely he will end up being the featured back in his freshman campaign. Jahad Thomas and Zaire Williams will get plenty of carries as well. The Owls got some great news last month when the NCAA ruled that wide receiver Adonis Jennings would be eligible to play this year. Jennings transferred in from Pittsburgh, and he's a guy who the team has high expectations for in the season ahead. Colin Thompson is a highly-touted tight end who was injured last year. Look for him to be a weapon for this year's team.
The offensive line is probably the biggest question mark for the team. I don't think there's any question that Temple has upgraded their skill position players from a year ago, but if the line can't block well enough, that will hold back this offense. Kyle Friend is a good leader for the unit at center, and this group should be better than last season. However, how much better is to be determined.
Here is the primary reason why so many people are excited about this Temple team in 2015. The Owls were great on defense last year, and they have a whopping 10 starters back on this side of the ball. Out of 20 guys who made a tackle last year on defense, 19 of them return. The potential is there for this defense to be one of the best in the nation.
The star of the defense is linebacker Tyler Matakevich. Matakevich led the team with 117 tackles last year. No one in the AAC has linebackers as good as Temple. Nate Smith is another senior leader who was second in the team in tackles last year. This group of linebackers knows the system well, and they do a great job of working together as a unit.
Matt Ioannidis is the senior leader on the defensive line. Ioannidis is a run stuffer from his defensive tackle spot. Opponents ran for only 3.8 yards per carry against the Temple front seven last year. Expect that number to only get better this season.
The secondary is also very good. Sean Chandler was awesome as a freshman last year, and he'll be one of the best cover corners in the AAC this season. Will Hayes and Alex Wells are the starters at the two safety spots, and both of them are seniors.
2015 Temple Owls Football Schedule
Temple's schedule is more difficult than average for an AAC school. They start out with a home game against Penn State that we'll talk about a lot in next week's article. The Week 2 road trip to Cincinnati may end up deciding who wins the AAC East. A nonconference battle with Notre Dame in late October will definitely be an interesting matchup. The schedule gradually gets easier toward the end of the season.
2015 Temple Owls Betting Odds
At 5Dimes , the Owls are listed at +300,000 to win the national title this season. That isn't going to happen, but Temple definitely has a shot in the AAC. The Owls are listed at +625 to win the conference. Temple is listed at +335 to win the AAC East.BetOnline has set the Temple season win total at 7 games.
Look for the first selection in next week's mid-major betting report.
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